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Quick Hits: Dooley, Harbaugh, Conley, and Pete Lembo

Dooley didn’t expect media blitz at Tennessee: "I wasn't surprised early on at the attention because it is Tennessee. But once the newness was over, it was a little bit like, 'Why are you guys still around?' Then I realized you weren't going anywhere, you kind of live here. I was just surprised, I wasn't mad at it or angry, I just didn't expect it to be that many every day. Usually I just expected two or three (reporters)."


Jim Harbaugh talks about a coach’s responsibility: "I'd say the biggest thing that I learned was, when a parent or a family sends their son to college to play football, they're really giving you their most prized possession. And it really makes no difference how much the family has in terms of material things or money.”
"The biggest responsibility that a college football coach has is just mentoring, taking care of that youngster." 


Interesting quote from Syracuse linebackers coach Dan Conley: “I told them (during the season) you may not know what you’re working for, but it will be one of the greatest weeks (bowl week) of your life. It will be something you’re always going to remember. You’re going to have an opportunity to go to a banquet with the team you’re playing. There are going to be activities scheduled with the other team, and it’s that camaraderie, that respect you build for the opposite team that you go battle on game day.” 


Ball State head coach Pete Lembo not overly concerned with lack of indoor facility: "Whether or not it has Field Turf on it, that's not the be all, end all. What's important is you can go in there and have space to teach and get your work done and not have your guys outside catching the flu.”

"I talked to some coaches in the (MAC) recently, and I candidly asked them how many times they used their indoor facility this season. Three or four was the answer."

"My philosophy is you make the most of what you have, and you work with people around you. I'm not shy about talking about challenges and problems, but I believe in attacking those in a positive way. If you're doing things the right way, and people know that, good things will happen down the road."

Quick Hits: Ekeler, Mullen, Harbaugh, and Jim Tressel

Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler describes the moment he informed his players about leaving for Indiana: "It was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do professionally. I just stood there for two minutes. I couldn't even talk. I love those guys. They're like my kids."

"If you want to grow as a person and coach, you have to get out of your comfort zone. Some people think I'm nuts. But that's how I'm wired. And that's why I'm leaving my home state and dream job. You've got to grow, man."


Unique and very nice video production from Vandy athletics: Watch this great video of behind-the-scenes Day #1 with Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.


Quoting West Virginia offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen: "I didn't see this coming.”


West Virginia QB Geno Smith praises outgoing offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen: "People don't see what he's done for me off the camera. He took me from a boy who came in not knowing anything about college and a guy who had made a lot of mistakes early in my career and molded me into a man with a lot of responsibilities. I'm able to say that I can take care of my business because of him.”

"As far as life goes, he teaches me life lessons on a daily basis. He's not a guy who's all about the Xs and Os. He's genuinely here for the players. I appreciate him for that. He was there for me when I was struggling with my foot injury and going through things and he really uplifted me."


John Harbaugh talks about Jim Harbaugh’s future: "I have no idea what he’s going to do. We do talk about it all the time. He’s having a baby ... in four or five days, and they’ve got the bowl game, so he’s just swimming right now. So he’s not even thinking about it right now.

"I think he wants to stay at Stanford, I think he’d love to stay there, but then again, you just have to see what happens. He’s not the kind of guy that’s going to make any kind of commitment until he’s ready to make a commitment. I think his commitment right now is having a baby and winning the Orange Bowl. So we’ll see what happens.”


Jim Tressel pumped up for Darrell Hazell: “I’m so excited for Darrell Hazell as he takes over as the head coach at Kent State. He has certainly been a difference-maker at Ohio State. The Golden Flashes are starting a golden era led by Darrell Hazell.”

Hazell: I went and watched film before I said yes to the job

Just days after winning his first national title at Florida, Urban Meyer told thousands of coaches at the AFCA Coaches Convention that the key to the profession is taking the right jobs.

Meyer urged coaches not to take any job, especially because of salary, but to take jobs where there is immediate potential (i.e. players).

Perhaps Darrell Hazell was listening.  On Monday, the former Ohio State wide receivers coach was introduced as the new head coach at Kent State.  Before accepting the job however, Hazell admitted, “I went and watched the film before I said yes to the job.”

Hazell said, “There are enough good players here to be competitive. If we can surround those good players we have currently with a few other guys, we’ll be OK to compete next year for what we want to compete for.”

So what the first step?

“If you don’t have a belief system, you don’t have a chance,” said Hazell. “We’re going to change the image of our guys, the way they think, to have a balanced ego and walk around with their chest out. That’s how it’s going to start.”

Hazell will coach with Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, where the Buckeyes will face Arkansas on January 4th in New Orleans.

Which assistant coach is absolutely crushing his contract incentives?

Oregon offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Mark Helfrich is cashing in on several contract incentives that will pay quite nicely.

According to USA Today, Helfrich earns $231,000 in base salary.  He earned an additional $17,000 for beating Oregon State and $35,000 for winning twelve regular-season games.

Helfrich secured another $12,000 for the team’s nine network TV appearances and will receive four months pay ($66,667) for reaching the BCS Championship Game.

What’s on the line in Glendale?  Helfrich will earn an additional $66,667 for winning the game and $50,000 for notching the Ducks’ thirteen victory.

We’re not done yet.  Helfrich will bring in another $30,000 for a top-10 finish and $75,000 for final #1 ranking.

How stoked is Helfrich about this season?

Most importantly, Helfrich was recently named the 2010 FootballScoop Quarterbacks Coach of the Year.  For this honor, we believe he should get another $200,000 for joining an elite group of previous winners such as Josh Heupel (Oklahoma, 2008) and Tom Rossley (Texas A&M, 2009).

On second thought, $250,000 sounds more reasonable.  He is the best in his craft, nominated and selected by his peers.

Maryland AD answers tough questions, explains decision

Maryland AD Kevin Anderson announced today that he is making a strategic business decision to buy out the contract of ACC Coach of the Year, Ralph Friedgen.

The most interesting part of the presser came when a reporter asked, “If James Franklin had not left for Vanderbilt, would Ralph be returning?”

Anderson responded, “Yes.”

Anderson also said, “James would have been a candidate in that pool.  I told him he would not automatically have given him the job.  The decision was his (to go to Vanderbilt).”

“We needed to make a long-term well thought out decision.”

“Having a head coach with one year remaining on his contract would have made it impossible to recruit well accomplished assistant coaches and high level recruits.”

“We will immediately begin a national search.”

“The search for a new head coach begins immediately.  The search is an open one.  Despite reports to the contrary, no candidate has been contacted by me or my staff.”

“He (Ralph) made it very clear he didn’t want to be a lame duck coach.”

“I do have a list.  There is no leading candidate.  Mike Leach is on that list.”

Pete Lembo talks about his plan at Ball State

Ball State introduced new head coach Pete Lembo just moments ago.  Lembo was 35-22 in five seasons as the Elon University head coach.  He was 44-14 in the five previous seasons as the head coach at Lehigh University.

Lembo said, “This is not about me.  This is about the Ball State program and all the different constituents in it.  My focus is to maximize the potential of the players.”

“I want our team to be the tightest knit team on the campus and in the MAC.  We will work hard to develop trust and build intangibles. We will be heavily involved in the players’ lives.”

“Character and fit are huge components for me.”

“I have extensive recruiting in Florida and Georgia, if we need to go outside our region, that’s where we’ll go.”

“The MAC is an outstanding league.  It has risen in recent years.  It’s been a long-term goal of mine.  There are so many parallels between the community we are leaving and this community.”

“I think in any profession, who you work for is half the battle.  I learned a lot of Tom (Collin) in this process.  He likes to hire people he can trust and then hand them the keys to the car and support them.”

“This is not going to be about Pete Lembo bringing in his guys.  Everyone is going to have a clean slate.  We are going to embrace all the players.”

Bielema undecided on new defensive coordinator

With the departure of defensive coordinator Dave Doeren, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema has a decision to make regarding the next leader of the Badgers’ defense.

Defensive line / specialists coach Charlie Partridge or defensive backs coach Chris Ash will likely call the defense next beginning in the spring.  The two coaches could end up as co-coordinators.

Ash explains,"Whatever coach Bielema decides, we'll make it work. We're not going anywhere. We're happy to be here. If he were to bring somebody else in, we'd make it work. But if he named me or Charlie, or co-(coordinators), we'll make it work.”

"This is our defense. It's not anyone (else's) defense. We know the defense inside and out. We can run it, we can call it. We'll make our normal offseason adjustments and changes we would normally make. If it came to (co-coordinators), business would roll as usual."

Doeren will serve as the defensive coordinator in the Rose Bowl against TCU before leaving for Northern Illinois as the head coach.

Wisconsin is a 2.5 point dog to TCU.  

Quick Hits: Kelly, Whittingham, Petersen, and Fedora

Brian Kelly wants a particular type of player at Notre Dame: "We have some guys that play because there are 81,000 in that stadium. "But most of our guys---would play if not one fan showed up for the game. Those are the guys that I want."

"We had too many guys here that were interested in the walk from the basilica, wearing the Notre Dame helmet, and running out before 81,000. That can't be your prime reason for being at the University of Notre Dame. Now. we've changed a lot of that." 


Kyle Whittingham likes that Utah is a 17-point dog to Boise State: “Our team seems to function pretty good when they’re in the underdog role and have a chip on their shoulder.”


Chris Petersen calls out Vegas, doesn’t understand 17-point favorite: “Shocked. Obviously somebody’s not studying tape. We study tape and I know this is a very even matchup and I think we’ll have to play our best if we hope to win.”


Larry Fedora compliments Charlie Strong: "Charlie is going to get after it. He's going to coach hard. He's got a philosophy, and he believes in it. It's proven. It looks like those kids have bought in. He's done a heck of a job getting to this point."


Southern Miss DC Todd Bradford explains “tough year” : “It was a tough year. It was a tough last game against Tulsa (a 56-50 loss). People do not know realize you lose those three players (linebacker Tim Green, linebacker Martez Smith and end Deddrick Jones) in the shooting and all three were playing a lot of minutes for us. The emotions of beating Central Florida came down with the incident and the short week with Houston were tough. We have to play with passion and emotions to be successful. But it starts with me and we will get better.”

(on practicing for Houston following the shooting of three players) "Practice was odd. Everyone deals with emotions differently, and there's no right way to deal with it. Not only were the players dealing with those kinds of emotions, but you have coaches that are very, very close to those kids. I've spent more hours with those three kids than with my three children over the last three years."